Social MDM and Matchback

business partnersIn a discussion in the Social MDM group on LinkedIn the following saying came up:

“Why did 85% of the 1700 CMOs interviewed say they use social media as a communications channel and yet only 14% of them measure the ROI?”

A traditional discipline in measuring ROI from a certain market activity is, as told in the post Matchback and Master Data Management, that you try to figure out from which activity a new (prospect) customer was triggered.

The problem is that the trigger may be in one channel but the customer shows up in another channel.

Measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) in doing social media communication and social CRM also requires matchback and in order to do this you will need social master data management where the old systems of records are linked to the new systems of engagement.

As the social business has some considerations not at least around privacy, the matchback activities may very well be done by adapting Hierarchy Management in Social MDM.

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Defining Social MDM

Social MDM2Social Master Data Management (Social MDM) has been a recurring subject on this blog for a couple of years. But what is Social MDM? What do others say it is?

Here is what Techopedia, Gartner and The MDM Institute thinks:

Techopedia has this definition of Social MDM:

Definition – What does Social Master Data Management (Social MDM) mean?

Social master data management (Social MDM) refers to the processes, policies and concepts used to gather and compile social media data sources – like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – into one master file.

Gartner (the analyst firm) hasn’t to my knowledge used the term Social MDM. In 2011 they though said that this will be one of three main trends in MDM:

Increasing Links Between MDM and Social Networks

By 2015, 15 percent of organizations will have added social media data about their customers to the customer master data attributes they manage in their MDM systems….

In 2012, as reported in the post The Big MDM Trend, Gartner, The Hype Cycle firm, changed the point to be about MDM and Big Data.

The MDM Institute has a Field Report from April 2012 where Aaron Zornes (who is the MDM institute) writes:

Social MDM (Cloud-enablement, Architecture & Integration)

During 2012, cloud-enabled MDM will attract small- and mid-sized businesses as a means to engage in MDM without committing to long-term project and major expense….

By 2014-15, cloud-innate services for data quality and Data Governance will be more prevalent than full Social MDM…

So the MDM institute thinks Social MDM is MDM in the cloud.

What do you think?

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Social MDM and Complex Sales

Social Master Data Management (Social MDM) is about linking the increasing trend of doing business via social media, using what we may call “systems of engagement”, with the traditional way of supporting business using what we call “systems of record”.

Doing social MDM is a natural consequence of adapting social CRM (Social Customer Relation Management). Many CRM solutions are supporting Business-to Business (B2B) activities helping with keeping track of what’s going on with a lot of contacts related to a business account within so called complex sales processes.

Traditional MDM in B2B environments has been much about a single view of the business account and the legal entity behind. As social CRM is much about the relations to the business contacts, the people side of business, we need a solid master data foundation behind the people being those contacts.

The same individual may in fact be an important influencer related to a range of business accounts being the legal entity with who you are aiming for a sales contract. You need a single view of that. So many sales contracts are based on a relation to a buyer moving from one business account to another. You need to be the winner in that game and the answer to that may very well be your ability to do better social MDM.

Social MDM adds a new external source of reference data to MDM solutions for B2B customer master data management. This new source is professional social network profiles where LinkedIn is the most known and used service around.

It is early days for social MDM solutions so it is quite exciting for me to work with designing the first kind of such solutions around the MDM edition of the instant Data Quality service.

Stay tuned for more news in this field on this blog in the times to come.

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Finding the Truth in Social Business Directories

LinkedIn has a section called companies. When browsing around on LinkedIn you are sometimes hinted to follow a company that LinkedIn think will be of interest for you.

The other day my hint included two identical logo’s for the old Master Data Management (MDM) vendor called Siperian. Curiously and data quality geeky as I am I checked and actually there are two Siperians on LinkedIn companies:

Both have an identical head quarter address in California, USA.

So, even MDM vendors have created duplicates.

Also, Siperian was acquired by the Data Integration giant Informatica some years ago, so you should expect that the Siperians was emptied. But that is not the case. Some Siperian folks still claims working for one of the Siperian duplicates (though many also for Imformatica at the same time).

Now, I was not sure about the legal status of the old Siperian company. So I went to another social network called Companybook. On that site the company registry is based on an external business directory.

Here it seems that the Siperian company in Toronto, Canada actually still exist, though marked as owned by Informatica.

So, I’m still looking for that single source of the truth out there. Until then I will mashup the external sources out there with my internal MDM vendor knowledge as told in the post yesterday called Mashing Up Big Reference Data with Internal Master Data.

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Hierarchy Management in Social MDM

Hierarchy management is a core feature in master data management (MDM). When it comes to integrating social data and social network profiles into MDM, hierarchy management will be very important too.

Aggregated Level of Social MDM in B2C

The primarily privacy related challenges of social MDM not at least within business-to-consumer (B2C) have been a topic of a lot of blogging lately.  Examples are:

One way of overcoming the privacy considerations is linking to social data and social network profiles at an aggregate level.

Using aggregate level linking is already well known in direct marketing with the use of demographic stereotypes. These stereotypes are based on groups of consumers often defined by their address and/or their age. Combining this knowledge with product master data was examined in the post Customer Product Matrix Management.

Social MDM will add new dimensions to this way of using hierarchies in master data and linking the data across multiple channels without the need to uniquely identify a real world person in every aspect.

Contact Level Social MDM in B2B

As discussed in the post Business Contact Reference Data social network profiles has lot to offer within mastering business-to-business (B2B) contact data.

While access to external reference data at the account level has been around for many years by having available public and commercial (and even open) business directories, the problem of identifying and maintain correct and timely data about the contacts at these accounts has been huge.

Integrating with social networks can help here and social networks are actually also integrating more and more with the traditional business directories. LinkedIn has business directory links for larger companies today and lately I noticed a new professional social network called CompanyBook that is based on linking your profile to a (complete) business directory. By the way: The business directory data available in CompanyBook is surprisingly deep, for example revenue data is free for you to grab.

When it comes to contact data they are basically maintained out there by you. A service like LinkedIn is often described as a recruitment service. In my eyes it is a lot more than that. It is along with similar services a goldmine (within a minefield) for getting MDM within B2B done much better.

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Business Contact Reference Data

When working with selling data quality software tools and services I have often used external sources for business contact data and not at least when working with data matching and party master data management implementations in business-to-business (B2B) environments I have seen uploads of these data in CRM sources.

A typical external source for B2B contact data will look like this:

Some of the issues with such data are:

  • Some of the contact data names may be the same real world individual as told in the post Echoes in the Database
  • People change jobs all the time. The external lists will typically have entries verified some time ago and when you upload to your own databases, data will quickly become useless do to data decay.
  • When working with large companies in customer and other business partner roles you often won’t interact with the top level people, but people in lower levels not reflected in such external sources.

The rise of social networks has presented new opportunities for overcoming these challenges as examined in a post (written some years ago) called Who is working where doing what?

However, I haven’t seen so many attempts yet to automate and include working with social network profiles in business processes. Surely there are technical issues and not at least privacy considerations in doing so as discussed in the post Sharing Social Master Data.

Right now we have a discussion going on in the LinkedIn Social MDM group about examples of connecting social network profiles and master data management. Please add your experiences in the group here – and join if you aren’t already a member.

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Pulling Data Quality from the Cloud

In a recent post here on the blog the benefits of instant data enrichment was discussed.

In the contact data capture context these are some examples:

  • Getting a standardized address at contact data entry makes it possible for you to easily link to sources with geo codes, property information and other location data.
  • Obtaining a company registration number or other legal entity identifier (LEI) at data entry makes it possible to enrich with a wealth of available data held in public and commercial sources.
  • Having a person’s name spelled according to available sources for the country in question helps a lot with typical data quality issues as uniqueness and consistency.

However, if you are doing business in many countries it is a daunting task to connect with the best of breed sources of big reference data. Add to that, that many enterprises are doing both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) activities including interacting with small business owners. This means you have to link to the best sources available for addresses, companies and individuals.

A solution to this challenge is using Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB).

An example of a Cloud Service Brokerage suite for contact data quality is the instant Data Quality (iDQ™) service I’m working with right now.

This service can connect to big reference data cloud services from all over the world. Some services are open data services in the contact data realm, some are international commercial directories, some are the wealth of national reference data services for addresses, companies and individuals and even social network profiles are on the radar.

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Social MDM, Privacy and Data Quality

The term “Social MDM” has been promoted quite well this week not at least as part of the social media information stream from the ongoing user conference of the tool vendor Informatica.

In a blog post called Informatica 9.5 for Big Data Challenge #2: Social Jody Ko of Informatica introduces the opportunities and challenges.

In the closing remarks Judy says: “There’s still a long way to go to bring social data into the mainstream enterprise, in part due to concerns over privacy and the potential “creepiness” factor of mining social data.”

As I understand it the spearhead Social MDM part of the tool release is a Facebook App that provides connectivity between Facebook and the MDM solution.

Industry analyst R “Ray” Wang examines this in the blog post News Analysis: Informatica Launches MDM 9.5. The analysis states that it now is time to “drive data out of Facebook and not into Facebook”.

The opportunities and challenges of driving data out of Facebook was discussed in a post called exactly Out of Facebook here on the blog some years ago.

Balancing privacy with data hoarding is still for sure a subject that in no way is settled and probably never will be.

Connecting systems of record in traditional MDM solutions with social network profiles is in no way a walk over too. The classic data quality challenges with uniqueness of records and completeness of data only gets more difficult, but also, there are great opportunities for getting a better picture of your customers and other business partners.

If you are interested in Social MDM and the related challenges and opportunities there is a LinkedIn group for Social MDM.

The group is new, less than a month old at the present time, but there is already a lot of content to dip into, including:

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Big Reference Data as a Service

This morning I read an article called The Rise of Big Data Apps and the Fall of SaaS by Raj De Datta on TechCrunch.

I think the first part of the title is right while the second part is misleading. Software as a Service (SaaS) will be a big part of Big Data Apps (BDA).

The article also includes a description of LinkedIn merely as a social recruitment service. While recruiters, as reported in the post Indulgent Moderator or Ruthless Terminator?, certainly are visible on this social network, LinkedIn is much more than that.

Among other things LinkedIn is a source of what I call big reference data as examined in the post Social MDM and Systems of Engagement.

Besides social network profiles big reference data also includes big directory services, being services with large amount of data about addresses, business entities and citizens/consumers as told in the post The Big ABC of Reference Data.

Right now I’m working with a Software as a Service solution embracing Big (Reference) Data as a Service thus being a Big Data App called instant Data Quality.

And hey, I have made a pin about that:

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Social MDM and Systems of Engagement

Social Master Data Management has been an interest of mine the last couple of years and last week I have tried to reach out to others in exploring this new era of Master Data Management by creating a group on LinkedIn called Social MDM.

When reading a nice blog with the slogan ”Welcome to the Real (IT) World!” by Max J. Pucher I came across a good illustration by John Mancini showing the history of IT and how the term “Systems of Record” is being replaced (or at least supplemented) by the term “Systems of Engagement”:

Master Data Management (MDM) includes having a System of Record (SOR) describing the core entities that takes part in the transactional systems of record that supports the daily business in every organization. For example a golden MDM record is describing the party that acts as a customer on an order record while the products in the underlying order lines are described in golden MDM records for the things dealt with within the organization.

Social Master Data Management (Social MDM) will be about supplementing that System of Record so we are able to further describe the parties taking part in the new Systems of Engagement and link with the old Systems of Records. These parties are reflected as social network profiles that are owned by the same human beings who are our (prospective) customers, part of the same household or are a contact for a company being a (prospective) customer or any other business partner.

For a guy like me who started in IT in the mainframe era (just after it had ended according to the above illustration) and went on with mini computers, PC’s and the internet it’s very exciting to be moving on into the social and cloud era.

It will be good to be joined by even more data quality and MDM practitioners and anyone else in the LinkedIn Social MDM group.

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